The Return of Martin Guerre, written by Natalie Z. Davis, is a novel that follows events as well as trials produced from lies and deception. The movie takes place in the 16th century of Artigat, France. The novel focuses around Martin Guerre who is a father and businessman. He lives with his wife Bertrande. Also has a son, Sanxi; and works for his uncle, Pierre Guerre. Unhappy with his current life in Artigat, and being accused of thievery, Martin leaves his family and responsibilities. As the story unfolds, it’s disclosed that Martin linked with the Spanish army to battle against the French. While there were periods of times when Martin wanted to return home, he felt he couldn’t until a peace treaty was established. Eight years pass and Arnaud du Tilh, a man who has been blessed with definite memory, embodies his features identical to those from the original Martin Guerre. He adopts the identity of Martin and sets himself inside the household.
Arnaud took advantage of the Guerre’s because of their generous hospitality to welcome in Martin back into the family, regardless of the disparity of physical characteristic. It was not until an argument between Pierre and the new Martin, as well as a fault of arson, that required Arnaud to be placed in trial. Two trials took place: the Trial at Toulouse and the Trial at Reiux. During trail, he defends himself by giving memories of him as well as the villagers to persuade their innocence. It’s up until they are at the newer location of Toulouse, that the true Martin Guerre comes back from battling with Spain. Attributes that were nothing more than fixations from memory, for example, Martin’s shoe size, and his tiny and stocky size are recognized. Bertrande looks for forgiveness from the true Martin, in spite of her covet to disrupt the trial. Arnaud was found guilty of the taking of Martin’s identity, and was forced to make an apology in public, and was later hung.
Martin and his family bounced back from this bizzare chapter they underwent in their lives. Martin and Pierre work together as business partners again, while Bertrande gives the support Martin needs to beat his unfortunate crippled state.
The author cultivates a variety of themes during the entire course of this novel. In the epilogue, she asserts “the story of Martin Guerre is told and retold because it reminds us that astonishing things are possible” (125). This specific idea can be stressed through the deceiver. Arnaud du Tilh wouldn’t have been a persuasive Martin, if it wasn’t for his unbelieving memory. Even though of his illiteracy, his character as well as ability to tell stories and cite memories of another person is an impressive element throughout this novel. Not only did Arnaud have the ability to deceive the entire village, he managed to even fool those who were closest to Martin. He was able to deceived them far enough to become profitable from their property and also to share a child with Bertrande.
Davis additionally mentions how the inferior duty of women impacted their lifestyles. During the 16th century, women were essential within the household to obtain stability. Although women executed their duties in an obedient manner, women like Bertrande who desired strongly in sadness for affection. The main sources of these accounts can’t begin to constitute Bertrande’s intentions, but they do in fact hint how her longing to gain love, convinced her to lie to herself, for the sake of having a husband once again. “As any wife of Artigat would have agreed, there is no mistaking ‘“the touch of the man on the woman’” (44), yet Bertrande “helped him become her husband” because “what Bertrande had with the new Martin was her dream come true, a man she could live with in peace and friendship and in passion” (44). She had the willingness to commit adultery and also to “adhered to the text they had agreed upon months before” (76) during the trial, despite her assertions of being a respectable as well as an honest person.